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Gardening Tasks in Autumn

St. Francis is the patron saint to all who love nature, especially birds and small animals. Give the birds a special treat and corn for the squirrels.

Poison Ivy – Dig and spray before foliage turns wonderful fall colors. Cover your hands and any exposed skin with Dawn Ultra (antibacterial), let it dry, and when you finish wash the Dawn off.

  • HYDRANGEA – Prune back Annabelle hydrangeas no more than every third year and then when the blooms turn brown. If stems are leggy and weak cut back only to 18” give support to spring growth.
  • BULBS – Plant tulips 12” deep or three times its height depending on the bulb. The deeper hole will increase the number of years the bulbs will continue their original size. If it is a new bed, plant daffodils this year and other subsequent years and daffodils exude a toxin squirrels and other rodents don’t like. It is a good idea to always wear gloves when gardening especially if sensitive to lilies(any member of the family).
  • Houseplants – Protect houseplants outdoors when temperatures drop below 50 overnight. Bring them inside between the time the air-conditioning is turned off and heat turned on.  Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti need to remain until the night temperatures are consistently 50 or less, in order to set their buds. Protect indoors plants by isolating those coming indoors, especially recently purchased plants.
  • Lawn – Pick up branches, twigs and toys before mowing. They can be dangerous projectiles. Make sure small children are not in the yard and do not hold them while mowing or riding back to the storage area.
  • Vegetables – When spent plants are removed, compost those not diseased and take a soil sample to your Extension agent to test what it is lacking. Do not save seeds from hybrid plants as this year’s seeds will not come back true and do not carry the resistance of their parents. 

Carolyn Roof


Dawn Redwood in the Arboretum

Did you know that the Wallis Arboretum is the site of two pre-historic trees: Ginkgo biloba and Metasequoia glyptostroboides? Both species are from China, the fossil records of ginkgo dating to more than 200 million years ago and metasequoia (also known as the Dawn Redwood) a mere 50 million.

As was–and is–the custom from the time the house was built in 1850, the latest introductions were always planted at 616 Pleasant Street. A row of ginkgos separated the family area from the cutting and vegetable garden.

The metasequoia did not arrive at the arboretum until the 1950s. The species was once prolific in North America, Japan and China, so much so that its fossil remains are Oregon’s State Fossil. The species was considered extinct until 1938 when a Chinese botanist discovered a living tree in China. With the threat of war, it was not until the late 1940s that Arnold Arboretum (Harvard) funded a trip to collect seed, sending them on to various countries and the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)

Metasequoia is the smallest of the three living species of redwood, the the other two being the Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in the Pacific Northwest and the Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They are cousins and easy to confuse, though Metasequoia foliage is scaley and deciduous, while redwood’s foliage is needle-like.

Metasequoia is a beautiful tree that with a trunk that buttresses with age. It has reddish bark that exfoliates in narrow strips. In the fall, needles turn orange-brown to red-brown.

Today, the ‘living fossil’ (as it is often called) is readily available to the average grower. Unless you have extensive room, do not plant it as it grows 3-5’ a year, reaching over 100’ and 25’ wide. It grows best in a sunny location and even tolerates dry soil and hardy in zones 5-8.

In ‘Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs’ he states that a single specimen is an imposing sight, but groupings and groves are also effective as attested by the grove planted at MOBOT in 1947. 

If your yard is not big enough for metasequoia, visit the Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum any time. It is open to the public with no fee.

For more information about Metasequoia go to: landscapearchitecturemagazine.org, The Metasequoia Mystery

October – Things to do in the Garden

  • Goldenrod has come into full bloom. Our KY state flower is not the cause of allergic reaction as its pollen is heavy and falls to the ground. The pollen of ragweed, its companion, is light-weight and blows in the wind.
  • Allow fall asters to remain over winter and cut back early spring. Monarch butterflies depend on them for their migration south.
  • Cut a few Shasta daisies to enjoy inside. At three years, Shasta will begin to become leggy and needs to be removed. Each year replace the oldest and plant with new to have continuous dense blooming and healthy plants.
  • Roses – Leave rose hips and dead roses on the bush. Hips feed birds while dead roses indicate to the bush cease blooming. Add a tablespoon of bleach and of sugar to half gallon of water to keep cut roses fresh.
  • Lawn – Raking time is here. For less back stress from raking, pull the rake toward you as you walk away from the leaves. Form rows of leaves, mow using a mulching blade and repeat in the opposite direction to break down the leaves enough over winter to add nutrients and improve soil quality.
  • Trees and shrubs – Plant trees and shrubs. Viburnums create a great screen to block a bad view and are not picky about soil or environment. Pick up walnut and buckeye seeds daily. Bending over or squatting to pick up is good exercise and prevents tripping on the pellicle (heavy seed coating) and reduces lawnmower thrown projectiles.
  • Recycle vines that were removed from trees, lawn and beds to make wreaths and baskets.
  • Order live or cut Christmas tree from a reputable nursery.
  • Pick species or wild persimmon fruit once it has colored up but still hard and ripen inside. It will ripen after picking. Pick hybridized varieties when they have ripened on the tree.
  • Recycle spent vegetables by removing and adding to compost. Never compost disease and insect infested plants. 

When to Prune Hydrangeas

Some hydrangeas are pruned in the fall, some in early spring and some not at all. How am I to know which variety my hydrangea is and when it is supposed to be pruned or not?   Proven-Winners has the simple answer. 

Of the 49 species of hydrangeas, four are native to America, and only six types generally grown in our gardens. Those that produce flower buds on old wood are

  • bigleaf (mophead and lacecap)
  • oakleaf
  • climbing
  • mountain

    New-wood bloomers include

  • panicle(PG or peegee) and
  • smooth (Annabelle series). 

By not pruning old wood that produces buds formed earlier this year, the hydrangeas are more apt to be protected over winter. Late freezes do not harm new-wood bloomer,  as their buds are set after all chance of a spring freeze. If buds are frozen, more will be produced.

New Proven-Winners(P-W) this year include old wood bigleaf (aka florist, mophead or lacecap) “Let’s Dance Can Do” and “Let’s Dance Do It”. Both stunning. 

New-wood introductions include Firelight Tidbit, a dwarf bush with large flower heads, and Quick Fire Fab (true to its Fab name). Both are panicle or peegee, so named for the panicles(cluster of flowers) of large or grandiflora flower heads. 

There is an hydrangea for every situation, from 1-2’ to 4-6’, colors from white to magenta and almost every color in between, easy to grow, bloom seemingly forever and some repeat. They do best in moist, well-drained soil and more sun than generally given. Peegees are known for their sun tolerance. They are shallow rooted and will dry quickly. Mulch helps retain water. 


You know that hydrangeas likes water, but did you know that ‘hydra’ refers to the seed capsules that resemble ancient Greek water-carrier vessels?

A Fresh Look at Flower Shows

National Garden Clubs (NGC) has developed a new program to promote NGC Flower Shows. The program involves the Kentucky Judges Council to encourage and mentor clubs wishing to hold a flower show by providing information and support on schedule writing, awards, and procedures and then to guide the club through the flower show process. This program is designed for garden clubs that have never held an NGC Flower Show or garden clubs that have not held a flower show in the last five years.

To get your club started on the path to a fun and successful Flower Show, please contact the Judges Council President, Mary W. Turner (mary.turner@tetratech.com | 859-361-0799). A Mentor Judge will be assigned to your club and will provide you with a packet of information about staging an NGC Flower Show, including a sample Flower Show Schedule, a list of NGC Awards, and a list of the necessary supplies that can be ordered from NGC. With assistance from your Mentor Judge, your club will tailor the information to fit your needs and preferences and will work with you throughout the process—from beginning to end. Clubs that participate will be recognized with a certificate signed by the NGC President, Mary Warshauer.

Worthy Programs Photo Archiving

The photo archiving of your club’s accomplishments celebrates the projects, events, and activities of the members of National Garden Clubs, Inc. Your club’s photographs will be posted on our website and shared across other platforms such as our Facebook page. You can share your garden club pictures with other garden clubbers and the world!

Examples of pictures for posting:

    • Blue Star Memorial plantings and dedications
    • Flower show staging
    • Wildflower plantings
    • Civic beautification projects
    • Aquatic eco-systems projects
    • Youth Gardening Projects
    • Arbor Day plantings
    • Award Ceremonies
    • School Garden Projects
    • Plant it Pink projects
    • Anything else you want to brag about!

Be sure to identify your club, district, and the location of your photo.

Send pictures to GCKY’s Photo Archiving Chair Mary W. Turner (mary.turner@tetratech.com). You may also reach Mary at 859-361-0799 if you have any questions or need additional information.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Arboretum!

“In the Arboretum”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nannine Clay Wallis’s bequeathal of her 616 Pleasant Street home to The Garden Club of Kentucky, to be used as its headquarters and to promote gardening. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the garden is a certified arboretum. GCKY is the only state member of National Garden Clubs to have its own headquarters and an arboretum. What a magnificent gift Mrs Wallis gave the Garden Club, Paris, and all who are interested in gardening and learning more about gardening.

Mrs. Wallis had three loves: gardening, her husband Frederick, and children. She was always generous with her 3.6 acre garden, and she hosted many school, church and other groups to visit and even picnic.

The Garden Club of Kentucky has continued to make the Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum available for groups. On Monday, July 12, more than 100 children will participate in the annual Kids Day at the Arboretum.

Another custom that GCKY has continued is the planting of the latest introductions of plants with each marked as to name, date and if planted in honor or memory of a person or group. Some are collections of a plant, such as the Hosta, Crabapple, and Daylily. Others are grouped in specific gardens including Rain, Butterfly, Monarch, and Herb gardens. The Arboretum plants have outdone themselves this year, as if they know they are a part of the 50th-year celebration.

Among the spectacular trees is the Tricolor Europian Beech (Fagus sylvatica), whose striking purple foliage with creamy pink and rose margins make it a stand-out. It greets visitors (no admission fee) just left of the 7th Street side of the entrance. Equally stunning is The Rising Sun redbud (Cercis canadensis) located to the right of the rectangular pond. Its new foliage is apricot that turns yellow and yellow-green as it matures. Among the trees from the 1900s is a row of ginkgo that separates the Gazebo from the original cutting and vegetable gardens. They are now the site of the Crabapple, President’s (former GCKY presidents’ favorite plants) and Daylily gardens that includes varieties hybridized by Martha Porter, a former GCKY president.

Come visit our wonderful gift from Mrs. Wallis. It is open to all during daylight hours and is available for special events – GCKY club meetings, family picnics, weddings, etc. Contact: 859-987-6158 and leave a message.

Let’s Grow

I am so excited that you have given me the opportunity to serve The Garden Club of Kentucky as president. Thank you for this honor. And thank you for the countless hours you have worked in your community to advance our mission. Garden club members are good stewards of the land, and we encourage others to do the same. Our members not only ‘talk the talk’ but ‘walk the walk’.

The continued theme ‘Let’s Grow’ keeps us focused on just that. We need to grow in membership, clubs, all aspects of gardening, wildlife havens, youth collaboration, education through our four NGC schools, flower shows, conservation efforts, Blue and Gold Star Memorials, and making friends all the while.

We also need to grow in promotion of our accomplishments. Success breeds success. By showcasing our monthly meetings and projects of all types and sizes and by volunteering to speak at other organizations, we let the community know who we are and what we do. One of our goals as a local federated garden club is to never have someone remark ‘I don’t know if we have a garden club or not’ or ask the question ‘Is there a garden club here?’ It should be evident there is an active garden club. By ‘talking the talk’, members let friends and acquaintances know and possibly gain new members. By ‘walking the walk’, the community sees club members working on community projects whether great or small. They will know we are here!

Again, I want to continue with special projects ‘Gardening with Native Plants’ and ‘Habitats for our Wildlife’. These projects are intertwined. One project will result in the other. Because of urban development, ecosystems are being disrupted. We must be even more diligent of what open space we have, allowing for ecosystems to thrive. All life on earth is integrated, all has its purpose, and all must be protected. This is where garden club members come in…we can be those ambassadors in our communities who encourage our Mission Statement of The Garden Club of Kentucky: To provide education, resources and networking opportunities for its members and promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic and environmental responsibility.

Our incoming National Garden Clubs President is Mary Warshauer, whose theme is PLANT AMERICA-PLAY OUTDOORS, and our incoming South Atlantic Region Director is Marty Bowers. Her theme is Reconnect, Plant, Grow, and Bloom.

‘Let’s Grow’!

Carcille Carloftis Burchette

GCKY President (2021-2023)


Interested in Environmental School?  

Members interested in Environmental Schools can go to the National Garden Club (NCG) website (gardenclub.org) to identify the next school available & the location. 

Click on “NGC Schools”, then “Find a Course”, and then just follow the prompts.  Currently, Course 4 will be available Sep 22-23, 2021, via Zoom.  Follow the prompts for details & requirements.  

Unfortunately, the Course 1 that GCKY had scheduled for April 2020 that was cancelled due to Covid 19 will not be re-scheduled within the immediate future. 

The mission of the Environmental School is to teach environmental literacy to cherish, protect & conserve the living earth.  We need to keep a habit of life-long learning.  These schools are an excellent way to do that. 


Linda Craiger 

Chairman, Environmental School 

Carey Hester Huddleston


Carey Hester Huddleston

Sat 18 Feb 1922 – Mon 17 May 2021

Garden Club Member

  Cumberland Park Garden Club She was State President from 1989-1991. 

Mountain Laurel District



Carey Francis Hester Huddleston passed away May 17, 2021 at Middlesboro Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility. She was born February 18, 1922 in Dyersburg, Tennessee to Carey Kitty Farris Hester and William D. Hester, was raised by her aunt, Mrs. Dollie Farris Williams. Mrs. Williams raised Carey and her older brother, Jack after their mother’s demise on the day of Carey’s birth. Carey graduated from Dyersburg Public High School in 1940. She attended Memphis State College for two years before graduating from Tennessee’s Union College in 1944 with a degree in Library Science where she worked for several years as an assistant librarian. Carey received her graduate degree from Peabody in 1945.

On June 26, 1949 in Dyersburg, TN, Carey married the late Charles D. Huddleston, formerly of Middlesboro. They had one child, Charles Vernon Huddleston. During the following years, Carey served as a teacher and librarian in various states before retiring in 1976. Upon Carey and Charlie’s move to Middlesboro in 1976, Carey began an active role in the Cumberland Garden Club where she served as chairman and the Garden Club of Kentucky. She served as President of the latter from 1989 to 1991. Carey’s theme for her Presidency was “Striving Together for Beauty’s Sake”. Carey won numerous ribbons for her flower arrangements at the regional, state and national levels. Carey was also an active bridge player, often hosting bridge parties at her home. Carey served as an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church until just two years ago. She was appointed a Kentucky Colonel by Governor John Y Brown in 1983.

Carey is survived by her son, Major Charles V. (Connie) Huddleston, U.S. Army retired; her granddaughter, Amy C. (Mark) Huddleston Davis and two great grandsons: Ethan Harrison Davis and Ian Kenneth Davis, all of Georgetown, Texas.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Thursday, May 20, 2021 at Shumate Funeral Home Chapel. Graveside service will follow in Middlesboro Cemetery. The family will receive friends 1-2 p.m., Thursday, May 20, 2021 at Shumate Funeral Home Chapel.

Shumate Funeral Home is honored to serve the Family of Carey Francis Hester Huddleston and is entrusted with all arrangements.